Statement for 2020
Amid the global lockdowns, the long awaited #BLM movement and the loss of physical touch with strangers, new tribes are forged, not from shared histories and blood ties, but from shared ideologies and enemies. Without moralising on this development, my latest work plays along the edges of old and new identities in human society.
Most recently my work has been a reflection on the absurdist fantasy of being a "real person" both in the art world and online. How much of myself do I have to show as an artist and as a person before strangers who do not know me consider me a friend. Or an enemy. Who are we when we are in our new tribes of ideologies? Can our older, flesh and bone tribes even compete for our love and belonging?
I make art about humanity and the similarities between "us" and "other". I choose subjects and stories that are unlikely to match with expectations or demographics. I choose them because it's when we strip away expectations that we find real connection and meaning.
In this way I am constantly disassembling and reassembling identities. I work vicariously but also passively, allowing the image or concept to manifest first then shaping my work and theories around it. I use whatever ideological material is at hand. Like found objects of the mind. In this way I allow myself to be shaped by the practice at least as much as I shape my individual artworks or ovrè.
When I paint a portrait I come close to knowing how gravity feels in someone else’s skin. And I can look at existence for a moment through their eyes.
Kim Mobey (born 1980) is a South African artist. She is entirely self-taught and sold her first sculpture through a commercial gallery at the age of 15. She has been working as an artist since the late nineties, having regularly exhibited her work from 2010 through galleries in Knysna, Hermanus, Johannesburg and Cape Town. In 2017, when she was selected as a finalist for the PPC Imaginarium awards with "In This Skin", her sculptural work gained wider recognition, being shown at the Turbine Art Fair and the Investec Cape Town Art Fair. In 2019 one of Mobey’s portraits "Nora in Winter" was selected for the Top 40 shortlist for the Sanlam Portrait Award.
Her primary mode is portraiture, which she prefers to render in traditional mediums - oils and acrylics. Her portraits are faithful to reality, while communicating the human connection between Mobey and her subjects – most often people she knows or has met. She seeks out an immersive and empathetic understanding of them, which she feels is necessary to evolving an authentic practice.
Beyond her humanistic approach, she is deeply affected by mythology and science. Though her work is rooted in reality and historical fact, she makes generous use of artistic license, fulfilling her compulsion to upturn stereotypical notions regarding aesthetics, gender, race, age or class - and reflecting her desire to challenge fixed identities and how these bear out in society.
A driven autodidact and educator, she actively studies and teaches new and traditional technical skills, sculpture, installation, performance, painting and printmaking. Her keen interest in humanity extends to ongoing charitable work.
2011 – Knysna Gallery, Knysna “In This Skin” (Solo)
2012 – Western Cape Premier, Official Residence Cape Town “See the Point, Darling”
2013 – Knysna Fine Art Gallery , Knysna “Pink Loerie Group Show”
2015 – MOMO Gallery Johannesburg “Les is More”
2017 – The V&A Watershed, Cape Town Inaugural “Art Africa Fair”
2017 – The Cape Gallery, Cape Town “Dream Now, Dream Not”
2017 – UJ Gallery, Johannesburg, “PPC Imaginarium Finalist Show”
2017 – Turbine Hall, Johannesburg “Turbine Hall Art Fair”
2017 September – Art @ The Clocktower, Cape Town. “Not all Black and White”
2017 November – Art @ The Clocktower, Cape Town. ”Tides of Talent”
2018 February – Investec Cape Town Art Fair “Art at Africa”, Cape Town
2018 March – The Cape Gallery, Cape Town “Illusive Reality”
2018 September – Art Africa, V&A Waterfront “Heritage Day Exhibition”
2018 December – The World Yacht, News24 Nasdak “Afro-chic”
2019 June – The Cape Gallery, Cape Town "Returning the Gaze"
2019 August – Rust en Vrede Gallery “Sanlam Portrait Award top 40 finalist exhibition”